Possibly inner ear irritated, slight abrasion on back and in front of ear, scratching

Pi_

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Pi is about 6 years old. I noticed twice today he was scratching his one ear, and kind of putting his claws to the inner part as if that was irritated. There is a small slight area on the back of his ear that is slightly abraised, an abrasion, like if you VERY slightly skinned your knee or elbow. There is no blood but a slight damp area where the skin is irritated. It's about the size of the tip of your smallest finger. There is a similar area in the front area of his ear. Not on the ear but in front. I'm guessing but don't know that those are irritated due to his scratching. I did cut those nails recently which could make them a bit more sharp if you know what I mean. A sharper edge on them.

Thoughts I'm having. Lately I've been feeding him more fish based food. I normally do give him some but had stopped a certain one that I was unsure of - I wondered before if he was reacting to it - and I've given him some of that again this week. I feel like when I only give him poultry based food he probably does better. So wondering if this ear issue is allergy related. But would that irritate his inner ear? Not that I'm certain his inner ear is irritated, it's just the way he is slowing down scratching and putting his claws in there.

Also, I am in Michigan and it just recently got colder. Although I have the heat on he has been sitting by windows and has looked kind of cold sometimes. It is also quite dry in here. Though I just started using a humidifier it hasn't gotten to a healthy humidity so far. (I can improve that by using a second one, and I've just started putting plastic on some of the drafty windows - which helps keep the humidity higher too. But for now it's kind of dry in here)

If he gets bitten by anything he gets sores but that is normally just one spot on the outside areas of his skin (not in his ear) so it doesn't seem likely it's to do with that. I've been trying to get rid of pantry moths, I keep thinking they are gone but today saw another, but I don't really think they bother animals. But I'm not sure. Once one flew by his face and he was upset.

So far I just put a small amount of warm water on a cotton ball lightly on the little raw areas, just once. I'm not sure what to do. I'm going to turn the heat up a bit more and make sure the humidifier is always full (I haven't been that on top of it the last few days) and I have a second one I will clean and get started. I can stop giving him the fish based food and just give him the turkey/chicken foods. (One of them does have a very small amount of fish oil still in it though). I home cook for him kind of every other day, just 1-2 meals of chicken thighs and sometimes chicken liver with an additive for cats. He has FIV. So he does react sensitively to things.

I feel like I haven't been paying close enough attention. Now I'm worried. I love him so much.
 
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Pi_

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The second one is blurry. The part in front of his ear is a bit bigger than I thought. It may look kind of wet because of the water I put before that dried that way. I'm not sure. The back of his ear lost the fur where it's pink, but that always happens with Pi when he gets any skin issue and it always grows back when he recovers.
 

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Pi_

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I just noticed him scratching his other ear too a few minutes ago. I don't know at all if it's related but when brushing him lately he does seem like he's feeling like his skin is somewhat generally dry and itchy. I'm covering one of the windows tonight (keeping out cold draft also helps the house retain humidity) and getting the other one going tonight too.
 
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I also just saw this. It is about the size of a pin head. It is raised. Like a little blood blister. It is not oozing anything, it seems intact.
 

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The vet online seems to think it is likely allergies and that the skin on the cats ear is very thin so the raw areas and little sore are likely because of the scratching.
 
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He now has a sore spot on the back of his head, lower down and this is the kind of sore that he has had recurring. They scab up and then eventually heal. I have felt it was either overreaction to insect bites or from a food allergy. So I have stopped feeding him the fish based food. Put warm water on the sore. And warm washcloth on his ears lightly a few times just to sooth them. Have the house warm and humidifier going. And pray. I would still appreciate people's thoughts though. Thanks.
 

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Hi. It could be food allergies, or even a seasonal/environmental allergy. A food allergy, generally, will not come and go, unless you change foods that coincide with the flare ups. Removing an element of his food that you suspect might be the issue is a good start anyway. But, do consider if there is any correlation between when he gets these spots and weather changes or other seasonal type issues (e.g.; pollen).

To help with healing, you can buy chamomile tea bags - standard grocery store varieties which are almost always German (you don't want English, nor any additives/flavorings). Brew a bag in water, cool the liquid, and dab it on the spots with a cotton ball or soft cloth, a few times a day. The tea has both healing and soothing properties, and it is considered an anti-bacterial/anti-fungal agent. It is also safe for him should he ingest any of it. There is also plain Neosporin (no paid additive) antibiotic that can be rubbed into the area as well.

A good trimming of his nails might also help to reduce irritation from scratching.

If this doesn't clear up soon, I would seriously suggest you take him in for a vet check up.
 
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Hi
Thank you. Could an increase of a food cause more symptoms? Lately I was giving him more of the fish based food. I’ve stopped it since writing this and it seems better though I’m keeping an eye out for any other symptoms. He’s scratching less but I’m still watching him. The chamomile tea is interesting so I might consider it. But at the moment am putting warm water in cotton balls with a tiny amount of honey in the water. It seems to soothe the areas that were irritated. I had recently trimmed his nails so that’s okay. I’m going back to home cooking more of his food as I think he feels better that way. I understand about the vets if it doesn’t really clear up very soon. Thanks again.
 
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Also thank you for pointing out that seasonal allergies can also play a role. It had suddenly gotten colder too so that could also lower his immune system and make him more susceptible to other things.
 

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Could an increase of a food cause more symptoms? Lately I was giving him more of the fish based food.
If he were by chance allergic to fish, or at least some specific types of fish, serving him more of it than usual might cause an issue. Could even be from a different type of fish than he normally gets.
It had suddenly gotten colder too so that could also lower his immune system and make him more susceptible to other things.
Things like closing doors/windows and running heat in the house can cause dryer than normal air, like you previously mentioned. It can also cause a build up of dust particles, even scent related items within your home, because the house is closed up and the heat is re-circulating air.
 
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